Biosphere Newsletter – April 2022

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Welcome to our April 2022 newsletter...

Greetings to all our friends across the Biosphere and beyond! April is a month that's as busy as it is beautiful in Scotland's rural south-west, with daffodils and gorse in bloom and farmers bringing thousands of new lambs out onto the hills.

Between our monthly updates, don't forget you can contact any of our team at and find us on social media via the links at the bottom of this page.

The photo we've chosen for April shows Cairn Holy Chambered Cairn which we visited recently on a particularly sunny day. The two Neolithic tombs are this site, located near the Biosphere Community of Gatehouse of Fleet, were built in the 4th millennium BC. One is said to have been the resting place of the legendary Scottish chief Galdus who fought against the Roman invasion in the first century AD. In his 'Life of Agricola' the historian Tacitus gives Galdus a dramatic speech, in which he speaks of the Romans thus: "
To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace."

Did you know that 2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories? Click here to find out more!
It's last call for applications for our Finance & Business Support Officer vacancy, which closes at 12 noon on Friday 15th April. We strive to be as flexible as possible in our working arrangements, and this post is offered with work-from-home/hybrid options and the opportunity to job share - so please do consider applying even if you are seeking part-time hours or if your skills lean more strongly to one aspect of the job than another. This is a permanent post with a salary of £25,000 - £33,000 p.a. Full details of how to apply via the link below.

(Perks of the job include Team Development Days outdoors - with picnics!)

Click here to find out more about our Finance & Business Support Officer role(s), and how to apply
In keeping with the 'busy' theme this month, Team GSAB have quite a few partnership events to promote. One of these is a talk by our Land Use & Biodiversity lead, Andrew Tait, taking place at the South Machars Community Centre in Whithorn on Saturday 23rd April between 1 - 3 pm. Andrew will be discussing land management, habitats and invertebrate life in the Biosphere, and the importance of our bird populations. Our special guest will be Philip Munro from the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project. To attend please contact the venue directly: email or telephone 01988 500364.

Click here to find out more about the High Focus Species and Habitats in the GSA Biosphere
April is budget month of course, and we are aware that people across our UNESCO Biosphere and beyond are facing severe impacts due to the soaring cost of food and fuel. We spent some time recently talking to The Energy Agency, based in Ayr, who can support you at home or in your business to cut costs where it is possible to do so. Their advice is free, impartial, and covers everything from heat pumps to hydro via sustainable transport and eco-schools. The photo below was taken at one of the Glenkens Energy Cafes (this one at Carsphairn) hosted by the Glenkens Community & Arts Trust and Connecting in Communities, with Home Energy Scotland, Citizens' Advice Scotland, and the Biosphere's Community & Education team.
Click here to find out more about The Energy Agency and the services they offer
We have extended the digital survey associated with our Periodic Review but there are only a few days left to take part. The more responses we can gather the more informed our 10-year report to UNESCO will be, so we are very grateful indeed for your time in taking part. We are particularly keen to hear opinions from the youngest and oldest residents of the Biosphere so that they are not under-represented. If you are able to share the survey with others it is again much appreciated.

The photo below was taken at our Ecosystem Services workshop at the end of March, when the Biosphere's Partnership Board and guests got together to discuss the importance of these in our region: from provisioning services such as fresh water and raw materials to cultural aspects such as aesthetic values and mental health. Thanks to the team from WSP for leading the session and for helping the group digest such a wide range of opinions and ideas.

Click here to take part in the Biosphere's Periodic Review survey
In case you missed it on our social feeds: a whole new batch of Biosphere Guides completed their training in March! We were thrilled to receive such a fantastic response when we advertised the course; applicants included writers and storytellers, mountainbike leaders, actors, bushcrafters and forest bathers. The Biosphere Guide Training was delivered by Stef Lauer of Hands On Consulting from our base at Kirroughtree in Galloway Forest Park. We can't wait to run another course - hopefully later this year - and in the meantime look forward to seeing the Biosphere Guides begin to deliver new, creative and accessible visitor experiences across the region. Thanks to everyone for the fullness of your engagement and all your hard work.

Looking ahead to May, we will be hosting a Community Networking Event with a schedule of speakers who will be sharing their experiences of leading community initiatives across the Biosphere - discussing not only what has been achieved but the challenges encountered along the way. Our hope is that this will be a valuable opportunity for people to make new contacts and gain knowledge that can inform future projects. Speakers include the KPT Development Trust, Ochiltree Community Hub, Carsphairn Community Woodland, Ballantrae Trust, and South Machars Community Centre Re-Use Shop, plus members of our Biosphere team. All are warmly invited to attend but capacity is limited - please see below for how to book.

Finally...a warm welcome to all the individuals, businesses and community groups that have signed up as Proud Supporters of our UNESCO Biosphere recently. The amount of support for people, nature and Global Goals is amazing and everyone on Team GSAB firmly believes it demonstrates how southwest Scotland can be a model of better living for other regions and communities at home and abroad. Our newest Proud Supporters include holistic health and wellbeing coach Lesley Atkins at The Nourishing Space; dream wedding venue Machermore Castle; wood carver Robert Lawrence at Ingrained Culture; Dark Sky Ranger Matthew McFadzean; and a wonderful influx of sustainable businesses in Moffat, one of our very favourite non-Biosphere towns! Check out Dell-Mar B&B and Queensberry House if you have friends or relatives coming up to explore D&G, and the Moffat Walking Weekend if you're looking to get your autumn activity diary underway.
We've mapped all our Proud Supporter businesses to help you plan your next shopping trip, food & drink experience or Biosphere adventure
Don't forget that we're social! Follow our daily news and activities via the links below:
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